Pan Books began as an independent publisher, established in 1944 by Alan Bott, previously known for his memoirs of his experiences as a flying ace in the First World War. The Pan Books logo, showing the ancient Greek god Pan playing pan-pipes, was designed by Mervyn Peake.
A few years after it was founded Pan Books was bought out by a consortium of several publishing houses, including Macmillan, Collins, Heinemann and, briefly, Hodder & Stoughton. It became wholly owned by Macmillan in 1987.
Pan specialised in publishing paperback fiction and, along with Penguin Books, was one of the first popular publishers of this format in the UK. A large number of popular authors saw their works given paperback publication through Pan, including Ian Fleming, whose James Bond series first appeared in paperback in the UK as Pan titles. So too did Leslie Charteris's books about The Saint, Peter O'Donnell's Modesty Blaise, and novels by Georgette Heyer, Neville Shute, John Steinbeck, Josephine Tey and Arthur Upfield. Pan also published paperback editions of works by classic authors such as Jane Austen and Charles Dickens.Another notable title was The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams.
During the 1950s and 1960s Pan Books editions were noted for their colourful covers, which have made many of them collectables, particularly the Fleming and Charteris novels.
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